08 Mad Max Fury Road — A Legend Roars Back To Life, Part 4
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“It is by my hand you will rise from the ashes of this world.”– Immortan Joe

Vanderwalt, whose history with Miller traces all the way back to “The Road Warrior,” also imbued the Imperator with a patina of status, noting, “The highest ranking Imperators covered their foreheads with black grease and used metal and mineral dust to highlight it.”

Skin tone became a powerful visual touchstone for Furiosa, Max, and the film’s small troupe of rebels. “These are people who have come through this far and still bear the possibility of renewal,” Gibson notes. “We kept their skin tones alive, especially when it came to the Five Wives, whose flesh itself speaks of hope and future.”

Against gritty reality of life in the Wasteland, the Wives would have to look completely alien. “The Immortan thinks of them as his treasure, and he has protected them from all the poisons of the outside world,” Miller notes. “In a Wasteland inhabited by people eaten up by cancers, the women themselves had to be, in a sense, pristine.”

Vanderwalt maintained a natural look for Huntington-Whiteley, Keogh, Kravitz, Lee and Eaton, opting to illuminate the characters’ personalities through hairstyling. “George loved Zoë’s short hair, and we thought Toast would have chopped it off to be feisty,” Vanderwalt says.

For their costumes, the actors went to Beavan’s workshop to pick and choose from a variety of cotton and muslin cloth wraps, which were inspired by a ballet Miller had seen in which the dancers had been adorned in crepe bandages. “The Wives have been living in a climate-controlled environment all their lives,” Beavan suggests. “So when they’re taken away from that, the idea is that they’re completely unsuitably dressed for the Wasteland.”

For everyone else at the Citadel, the body is a canvas where each individual paints, carves or wears his or her beliefs, origins and status. Gibson offers, “Masks are a status symbol, scars tell your past and position, clothes identify your rank—whether you’re a driver, lancer, or if you have nothing, the little that you did have was very important to you.”

The Immortan’s nightmare visage of rows of horse teeth serves both a practical purpose to scrub toxins from the air, but to also imbue the Warlord with the formidable presence of a fierce demi-god. Keays-Byrne wore it above bulletproof Plexiglas armor that also serves to conceal and control his ailing physical form, all of which holds his War Boys in continuous kamikaze thrall.

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